Michigan Association of School Administrators

Your Success. Our Passion.

Member Blogs

Blog Authors

David Britton, Godfrey-Lee
Rich Franklin, Athens
Scot Graden, Saline
Tony Habra, Paw Paw
Jerry Jennings, MASA
Michele Lemire, Escanaba
Vickie Markavitch, Oakland
Steve Matthews, Novi
Mike Paskewicz, Northview


MASA members: If you have a blog that you would like us to link please contact pmarrah@gomasa.org

Today Escanaba hosted its second major

Written by Michele Lemire on Mar 27, 2015
Today Escanaba hosted its second major First Robotics event. It was great to see so many people in our community come out to support our students, as well as students who hailed from other teams. Not only is this program outstanding for inspiring students' problem-solving and innovative skills, it is a chance for students to work together in groups! This is education at its best and I am so proud that we have had amazing teachers, principals, and volunteers in our schools leading our students along this path. I am also very thankful for the Delta County Chamber of Commerce as well as the various businesses who have supported not only this event, but the student teams as well. How wonderful it is that we have professionals in the engineering field working with our kids elbow to elbow! Thanks everyone!
Robomo Mentors
VIP's--thank you for your support!


The arena...

Our own Robomos!

Michigan Once Again Called Out Nationally for Inequitable Funding of Schools

Written by David Britton on Mar 26, 2015
Michigan continues to miss the mark badly when it comes to closing funding gaps, especially to provide equitable educational opportunities for students in poverty (as well as with limited English proficiency). That's according to a new study by The Education Trust just recently released.

The table below from the report shows just how badly Michigan is performing in this critical benchmark.  Our state ranks in the bottom third.


Interestingly, Amber Arellano, executive director, and Sunil Joy, policy and data analyst for The Education Trust-Midwest just wrote a guest commentary for The Center for Michigan's Bridge calling out the state for its achievement gaps and the need to continue to hold schools accountable. In the article, they place Massachusetts on a pedestal for what they've been able to accomplish holding fast over the past couple decades.

Of course, what Ms. Arellano and Mr. Joy continue to ignore is the disparity in equitable funding between Michigan and Massachusetts. The chart above, coupled with the evidence cited by both in their commentary, clearly demonstrates that equitably (not equally) distributed funding based on student needs is key to higher achievement levels.

How to kill a profession

Written by Steve Matthews on Mar 26, 2015

So you want to kill a profession.

It's easy.

First you demonize the profession. To do this you will need a well-organized, broad-based public relations campaign that casts everyone associated with the profession as incompetent and doing harm.  As an example, a well-orchestrated public relations campaign could get the front cover of a historically influential magazine to invoke an image that those associated with the profession are "rotten apples."


Then you remove revenue control from the budget responsibilities of those at the local level. Then you tell the organization to run like a business which they clearly cannot do because they no longer have control of the revenue. As an example, you could create a system that places the control for revenue in the hands of the state legislature instead of with the local school board or local community.

Then you provide revenue that gives a local agency two choices: Give raises and go into deficit or don't give raises so that you can maintain a fund balance but in the process demoralize employees. As an example, in Michigan there are school districts that have little to no fund balance who have continued to give raises to employees and you have school districts that have relatively healthy fund balances that have not given employees raises for several years.
Then have the state tell the local agency that it must tighten its belt to balance revenue and expenses. The underlying, unspoken assumption being that the employees will take up the slack and pay for needed supplies out of their own pockets. 
Additionally , introduce "independent" charters so that "competition" and "market-forces" will "drive" the industry. However, many of these charters, when examined, give the illusion of a better environment but when examined show no improvement in service. The charters also offer no comprehensive benefits or significantly fewer benefits for employees. So the charters offer no better quality for "customers" and no security for employees but they ravage the local environment.
Then create a state-mandated evaluation system in an effort to improve quality. Require the system to use a value-added measure (or VAM) that may or may not be equipped to do what its advocates say it can do. The American Statistical Association states:

Under some conditions, VAM scores and rankings can change substantially when a different model or test is used, and a thorough analysis should be undertaken to evaluate the sensitivity of estimates to different models.
Then make high stakes employment decisions based on the VAM.

Then you create an accountability system that purports to evaluate the quality of organizations. Then, using this system, rate over 80% of organizations as average or below average, furthering diminishing the respect of the profession.

It's easy to kill a profession.

All of these things have happened to public schools in Michigan. While I don't want to believe it, the argument could be made that some people are trying to kill the profession of public school educator in Michigan.

Some might argue that what I should focus on is the students. Student needs are the most important.

I agree.

But unless you create a meaningful, respected profession - who will teach the students?

State of Oakland County Schools 2015 VIDEO Resources

Written by Vickie Markavitch on Mar 26, 2015

A Decade of Education in Oakland County: Then, Now and Looking Ahead…

Image l to r: Barbara DeMarco, Dr. Tim Meyer, Dr. Vickie Markavitch

Oakland Schools and the Oakland County School Boards Association partnered on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 to bring Oakland County residents a comprehensive view of education in our county. Dr. Vickie L. Markavitch, Oakland Schools Superintendent and Dr. Tim Meyer, Chancellor of Oakland Community College, discussed the last decade of public education in Oakland County, including the importance of collaboration, our challenges, successes, and plans for the future.

WATCH VIDEO> State of Oakland County Schools 2015 Address  (1 hour)

VIEW SLIDES> State of Oakland County 2015 PowerPoint

 More information:

Oakland Schools

Oakland Community College

We thank Southfield’s Cable 15 for their professional video assistance!

******

Blog Editor: Jean MacLeod, Communications/Oakland Schools

ANDMORE about OAKLAND SCHOOLS

 Oakland Schools • 2111 Pontiac Lake Road • Waterford, MI 48328-2736 • 248.209.2000



Group Effort Provides Supplemental Food for Students Over Spring Break

Written by Michele Lemire on Mar 25, 2015
A partnership with the Community Foundation of Delta County, the Elks, and the GFWC has helped to provide funding for our school district to provide supplemental food over the Christmas/New Year's holiday break as well as over the upcoming Spring Break. Our school social workers, teachers, and principals identified 119 students who would benefit from this assistance. The Food Service Department, led by Nancy LaFave, organized the food and packed it up in boxes for families to pick up at their students' respective schools. We know that many of our students depend upon our school breakfast and lunch programs, and these long breaks sometimes prove to be a challenge. Last summer, we also launched a "Summer Feeding Program" at the Upper Elementary. This program, at no cost to the district, provided "free lunches" to any student (K-12) who showed up on Monday-Friday for 8 weeks last summer. We intend on running the program again this summer, and additionally hope to provide a "mobile" lunch at the high school site. Thank you to everyone who has made this effort such a success!
Here are some pictures of our team packing food for students to utilize over spring break: